What is an X-Ray?

X-Ray machine

What is an X-ray and How Does it work?

X-rays are relatively high frequencies of electromagnetic energy. X-rays can easily pass through soft tissues like the lungs, liver and bowels. With more dense materials or tissues, like bone, X-rays don’t pass through with the same intensity, which is how their image is left on the film.

Fluoroscopy, or live X-ray, uses contrast or dye to “highlight” the organ of interest and allow us to examine it while it functions. We also offer DEXA scans, which is a low-dose X-ray that is sent to a computer program to calculate bone density.

How Do You Prepare for Your X-rays?

• Please arrive at least 30 minutes before your appointment for fluoroscopy studies. Plain X-rays do not require an appointment and walk-ins are welcome.
• Remove metal and plastic items from the part of your body being examined.
• Let our staff know what medications you are taking if you have a fluoroscopic exam.
• If you could be pregnant, breastfeeding, allergic to contrast medium (dye) or diabetic, please tell our staff.
• If you must cancel or reschedule, please do so at least 24 hours before your appointment.
• For a fluoroscopic (contrasted) study, you should have received a prep sheet specific to the kind of study you are having. Please let the technologist know if you were not informed of a prep. Preps can include bowel cleansing or restricted diets in some cases.

IMPORTANT: If you are taking Metformin (Glucophage) and your doctor has ordered a study with IV contrast, you may need to stop it for 48 hours and get a blood test prior to your exam. You will also need to check with your doctor before resuming the medication.

What Will You Experience During Your X-rays?

Upon Arrival

  • The technologist will verify your information for your safety and obtain your health history.
  • You may request that your family member come with you for the exam, however, please help us reduce unnecessary radiation exposure.
  • You may be asked to change into a gown.

During your X-rays

  • Once in the X-ray room, you will be positioned for the films.
  • The equipment is cold and hard. Our staff, however, may be able to make adjustments for comfort.
  • To get the most precise results, the technologist may give you specific breathing instructions before taking the picture.
  • Please remain as still as possible to avoid blurring the images.
  • You will be able to communicate with the technologist during your films.
  • The exam usually lasts 10 to 15 minutes. Fluoroscopic exams vary in length of time and the technologist will inform you and your family on what to expect.

If you have questions about imaging, contact UofL Health – Diagnostic Imaging & Radiology at 502-562-3257.

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Jen Rager

Jen Rager is an imaging manager at UofL Health – UofL Hospital. She oversees MRI, breast care center and outpatient imaging center at the UofL Health – Chestnut Street Outpatient Center and UofL Health – Jackson Street Outpatient Center. She started as an X-ray tech in the imaging department 25 years ago and has served in various roles. She graduated from UofL’s Radiography program in 1997 and she is registered as a Radiology Tech and CT Tech. She is a brain cancer survivor and mom to two boys.

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